Af­ter the Gen­eral's an­nounce­ment

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Askari Raza Malik

GEN­ERAL Ra­heel Sharif by his un­equiv­o­cal an­nounce­ment stands tall as a ' man of dig­nity and un­bend­ing prin­ci­ple'. There is no doubt that he has earned him­self unan­i­mous praise and con­sid­er­ably en­hanced the im­age of the Army. His sup­posed pre­ma­ture an­nounce­ment came for the same rea­sons that have prompted writ­ing of this piece. Whereas the spec­u­la­tions about his re­tire­ment on the elec­tronic me­dia were pretty in­nocu­ous, the discourse on the so­cial me­dia was get­ting more and more fren­zied and of­fen­sive. His aim was to quash all the spec­u­la­tions, which were un­nec­es­sary, a waste of time and en­ergy, di­rectly im­pli­cat­ing his per- son and caus­ing un­de­sir­able con­fu­sion in the civil- mil­i­tary re­la­tions. Af­ter his an­nounce­ment a flurry of the­o­ries for and against his ex­ten­sion has started to clut­ter the so­cial me­dia space again. Each sug­ges­tion be­ing of­fered has im­pli­ca­tions that need de­lib­er­a­tions.

As the con­ven­tional wis­dom goes, ex­ten­sions have sel­dom been good for an or­ga­ni­za­tion, mostly non­pro­duc­tive and at times coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. No one is in­dis­pen­si­ble. Charles De Gaulle is sup­posed to have re­marked that 'the grave­yard is full of the in­dis­pen­si­ble peo­ple'.

Iskan­der Mirza ma­nip­u­lated two ex­ten­sions for Gen­eral Ayub Khan. It was dur­ing the se­cond ex­ten­sion that Iskan­der Mirza was him­self shown the door. Other than the usurpers who con­tin­ued to stay as the Army Chiefs, those who had ex­tended tenures were, Gen­eral Muham­mad Musa, eight years, Gen­eral Tikka Khan, four years and Gen­eral Kayani, six years. Those whose ten­ure was cut short were, Gen Gul Has­san forced by Bhutto to re­sign on gun­point, Gen­eral Asif Nawaz Jan­jua (died of heart fail­ure) and Gen­eral Je­hangir Kara­mat asked by Nawaz Sharif to re­sign.

The only Gen­eral be­fore Ra­heel Sharif who was of­fered ex­ten­sion which, he po­litely re­fused was Gen­eral Ab­dul Wa­heed Kakar. Later on he was per­haps of­fered a job also that he re­fused say­ing in pri­vate that ' there was no job bet­ter than be­ing the Chief of the Pak­istan Army'. Gen Je­hangir Kara­mat how­ever, af­ter his re­tire­ment, ac­cepted to be the am­bas­sador of Pak­istan to the United States.

When the dust had set­tled down on Hus­sain Haqqani's schizophren­ics, Gen Kayani to the sur­prise of ev­ery­one was granted a whole­sale ex­ten­sion of three years by the PPP, Pres­i­dent Zar­dari. This ex­ten­sion proved to be fruit­less. That is per­haps why both Mr Zar­dari and his party have so vo­cif­er­ously hailed Gen Rhaeel's an­nounce­ment to re­tire on time.

In a coun­try that has eter­nally suf­fered from 'Qeht-ur-Re­jal' or drought of gen­uine men, a pow­er­ful man will­ing to part with the glam­our and priv­i­leges of his post is in­deed a pleas­ant sur­prise. But it takes that 'Real Man' to do it, a man with con­vic­tions and self-re­spect. The lesser men are over­whelmed by the glit­ter that goes with the cen­tre stage. Gen Ab­dul Wa­heed Kakar was an­other such per­son­al­ity. Gen Mirza As­lam Beg sur­pris­ingly went out as an unsung hero. He had in the first place re­fused to take over the coun­try af­ter Gen Zia's death when of­fered to do so by the then Chair­man Se­nate Ghu­lam Ishaq Khan but he also did not take an ex­ten­sion, which, he could have pulled off rather eas­ily.

But, there are op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments, which might be brought to the no­tice of the Prime Min­is­ter. As opined by Late Gen­eral (retd) Ab­dul Qadir Baloch, the change of com­mand dur­ing a bat­tle or cam­paign is not re­sorted to as a Prin­ci­ple of War. Dur­ing the 1965 war Yahya Khan re­placed Akhtar Malik dur­ing an on­go­ing bat­tle. They say that Ayub Khan was alarmed by Gen­eral Akhtar Malik's pop­u­lar­ity as a war hero.

Though Yahya Khan was no mean a pro­fes­sional, still the re­sult of this change amidst the bat­tle cer­tainly caused the un­wanted de­lay and loss of mo­men­tum that is es­sen­tial to main­tain for suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of an op­er­a­tion. Sim­i­larly the change of the high­est com­mand dur­ing Zarb-e-Azb may prove to be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. In the sys­tem any Lieu­tenant Gen­eral who has com­manded a Corps should be able to serve as the Army Chief. It is the in­tan­gi­bles of war that de­mand cau­tion in this sit­u­a­tion. The morale of the com­mon sol­dier is soar­ing; he seems to have de­vel­oped an ex­plicit trust in his chief and the over­all im­pact that Gen Ra­heel Sharif seems to have cre­ated on his rank and file. This sit­u­a­tion poses a pe­cu­liar chal­lenge to the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive. The eas­i­est op­tion for him is to let the events take their course, se­lect a new Chief of the Army Staff and hope for the best. Then came the me­dia op­tions men­tioned above. One is to once again toy with the idea of a more pow­er­ful Chair­man Joint Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee (CJCSC) and place Gen Ra­heel Sharif to head the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.